SEEING YOUR IRA or 401(k) decline precipitously is bad enough. Locking in those losses is far worse. The good news: I’ve perused various Facebook retirement groups since the Russian invasion of Ukraine and have seen few signs of panic.
For instance, here’s some good advice from a prudent retiree: “Stay the course, but in the future make sure you have enough in a cash reserve for at least one year of planned withdrawals or RMDs,” meaning those pesky required minimum distributions that must be taken each year by those of us age 72 and older.
A FRIEND TEXTED ME yesterday. He wanted my thoughts on putting cash to work given the big stock market decline over the past few weeks. I took my usual approach, saying it’s always a good time to make retirement contributions, and that he should go ahead and swoop in. That was when the S&P 500 was down roughly 2% in the morning. We texted again in the afternoon before the closing bell—and after the market had rallied big.
LOOKING TO IMPROVE your physical and financial health? You might have heard similar sounding advice: All you have to do is burn more calories than you consume—and to spend less than you make.
While there’s an element of truth to both platitudes, I don’t find either helpful. There’s a psychological canyon between such abstract ideas and putting them into practice.
One thing experience has taught me: If I’m authentically stirred to want to do something,
THIS IS A TEST. This is only a test. This is a test of our stock market resolve. Remember how you told yourself you’d stand pat during the next stock market decline, that you wouldn’t get rattled like you did in 2008-09 and early 2020? That moment has arrived.
Like any person with an ounce of decency, I’m appalled by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the unnecessary death and suffering that will result. But I’m also confident that the Russians will come to regret their actions.
EVERY SO OFTEN, I see comments on social media about Vanguard Group’s Personal Advisor Services (PAS). One person posted that he’d talked to a growing number of people who quit PAS. There was no particular reason given for why they left. But I don’t doubt it. I’m a PAS client. I’ve often thought about terminating my relationship.
I’ve been with PAS since 2018. When I first joined, the PAS advisors made a few changes to my investment portfolio.
THE LATE JOHN BOGLE, in his book Enough, tells a wonderful story about Kurt Vonnegut and Joseph Heller. At a dinner party, Vonnegut asks Heller what it was like knowing that another guest made more in a day than Heller had ever made from his bestselling book Catch-22. Heller replied that he had something that the other guest would never have—enough.
I had forgotten my own story of enough,
OVER THE PAST FEW months, we’ve been inundated with articles touting Series I savings bonds and their 7.12% yield. More than a few HumbleDollarers have written about them, including here, here, here and here. It’s gotten so bad that, if I hear one more mention of Series I bonds, I’m going to scream.
Sure, at first glance, 7% sounds enticing. But after a detailed review, it all sounds like a marketing pitch worthy of Uncle Ron Popeil rather than Uncle Sam.
NEW YEAR, NEW TRENDS. That theme continues to play out. So far in 2022, the U.S. stock market, as measured by Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF (symbol: VTI), is down 9.1%. Brighter conditions are found overseas, despite today’s geopolitical risks. Vanguard FTSE Developed Markets ETF (VEA) is down just 4.3% year-to-date, while Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets ETF (VWO) is up 0.5%.
A sore spot for international investors has been small-cap stocks. Vanguard FTSE All-World ex-U.S.
VIEW ANY NUMBER of YouTube videos on retirement planning, and you’ll find advice on how much you need to save each month, how to invest, how much to accumulate and how to generate retirement income. The same is true for the experts who write blogs.
All this information relates to the retiree. Rarely—actually never—have I seen a discussion about survivor benefits. Even the 4% rule uses an assumed 30-year retirement period, apparently ignoring the possibility that retirement income needs to last over two lifetimes that may extend beyond 30 years,
WHAT IF WE MADE IT easier to delay Social Security, so more retirees ended up with a larger monthly check?
Last year, I wrote about a study from Boston College’s Center for Retirement Research (CRR) that detailed the value in claiming Social Security later. A new CRR paper examines the topic further.
The paper describes a survey of those nearing retirement. The goal: to gauge interest in using a 401(k) “bridge” to generate income while folks delayed claiming Social Security.
EVERY FALL AT LAW schools across America, a process occurs called on-campus interviewing, or OCI, as it’s commonly known. The more elite the law school, the more prestigious the crop of law firms that visit, each offering the promise of large salaries to brilliant, mostly young minds. Only students with excellent grades or editorial positions on the school’s law review are selected to interview for summer internships.
Like nearly all graduate schools, law school comes with an expensive price tag,
TAX SEASON IS HERE. You’ve probably received your W-2 and, if they haven’t arrived already, your investment tax forms may be just days away. If you’re like me, your email inbox has been inundated with tax-filing services pitching their latest deal. I’m no expert on which tax-prep provider is best, but each year I check this page for reviews of the major sites.
I have two other tips that might save you a few bucks.
IT SEEMS LIKE EVERY month or so, one of our kids—and, for the married ones, that includes spouse and little ones—is on vacation. A week or two in Cabo or Cozumel, a road trip out west, or a jaunt to some other interesting destination is commonplace. How is this possible? One of the reasons, I believe, is because they don’t work for themselves.
Instead, they work for big institutions, such as corporations, universities, school districts and large nonprofits.
THE NATIONAL STUDENT Clearinghouse Research Center recently published a report on postsecondary enrollment for fall 2021, including enrollment at community colleges, undergraduate institutions and graduate schools.
If you’re a believer in postsecondary education, the headline numbers weren’t encouraging. Enrollment fell by 2.7%, or 476,100 students. Over the two years since the start of the pandemic, it’s declined by 5.1%, or 937,500 students.
While the report offers no reasons for these declines, my view is that colleges are struggling to justify their value proposition to students and their families,
THERE WAS MUCH hoopla last week about high inflation, surging interest rates and geopolitical turmoil. Sure, these are important macro conditions. Still, stocks took things in stride. If you only pay attention to once-highflying growth companies, especially tech stocks, the market appears dire. Broaden your perspective, though, and things haven’t been all that terrible of late.
Yes, the S&P 500 lost 1.8% last week. Small-caps, however, were up 1.5%. Foreign shares were about unchanged.